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Reports on Speech/Lecture

Name of Event:

  Address by
H. E. Mr Phongsavath Boupha
Minister, Hon'ble President Office, Lao People's Democratic Republic
    on
"Contemporary State of Intra-ASEAN Dynamics and India's Relations with ASEAN"

Date:
  9th February 2011

Venue:
  Sapru House, New Delhi
                                                                     

The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) organized a lecture by H E Mr Phongsavath Boupha, Minister, Hon'ble President Office, Lao People's Democratic Republic on "Contemporary State of Intra-ASEAN Dynamics and India's Relations with ASEAN".

Remarks by Amb. Sudhir Devare, DG, ICWA

The Chairman extended a hearty welcome to Hon'ble Minister, Mr Phongsavath Boupha. He highlighted the long cultural and historical relations and a common Buddhist tradition between Laos and India. Further, he recalled India's long interaction with Laos in post-independence period. He pointed out that India was supportive of the freedom movement of Laos and when war broke out in the region in 1950s, India was the Chairman of International Control Commission which worked towards restoration of peace and security to Indo-China and the relationship has sustained over the years.

Director General emphasized excellent bilateral relations with countries of CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) and stated that now we have better knowledge as well as appreciation of our eastern neighbourhood through 'Look East' policy. He expressed India's gratitude for the stead-fast support given by CLMV countries, especially Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam at fora like ARF, ASEAN-India Summit and East Asia Summit. He also highlighted importance of Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.

Remarks by Ms Vijaya Latha Reddy, Secretary (East), MEA

Ms Vijaya Latha Reddy endorsed DG's remarks that India-Laos relationship was historic and that India greatly valued the relationship. While discussing bilateral relations, she spoke about India's assistance in development projects in Laos and noted that bilateral trade was modest but showed potential. She highly appreciated the support received from the representative of Laos at India-ASEAN meetings, East Asia Summit, the Mekong Ganga Cooperation and ASEAN Regional Forum. She spoke about the upcoming events in Delhi such as the Ministerial Meeting of Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, ASEAN Trade Summit and Exhibition, the Delhi Dialogue III and ASEAN-India Senior Official Meetings in February and March 2011. She noted that India's Look Policy was not merely a slogan but India actually practices it and there was a sound basis to practice the policy.

Address by H E Mr Phongsavath Boupha

H E Mr Phongsavath Boupha expressed his sincere thanks and deep appreciation to ICWA for providing opportunity to address the gathering. He emphasized that cooperation between ASEAN and India was comprehensive as it comprised political-security, economic and socio-cultural fields that have been carried through various processes and mechanisms such as the Annual ASEAN-India Summit, East Asia Summit, ASEAN post Ministerial Conference with India, ASEAN-India Economic Ministers' meeting, ASEAN-India Sectoral Ministerial meetings, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus.

He pointed out that ASEAN highly appreciated India's Look East Policy and India's important role in regional and multilateral fora such as NAM, UN and others. Laos and ASEAN highly value India's role for continuing to be one of ASEAN's important partners that continue to support ASEAN's centrality in the new evolving architecture as well as ASEAN's participation in the G20 summit. India was also actively assisting ASEAN in its efforts to develop human resources. He expressed his thanks to India for providing assistance to establish the Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDC) in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. He noted that in 2012, ASEAN and India will celebrate the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations, in which many activities will be organized in ASEAN and India to mark this important occasion.

On bilateral relations, he noted that the time tested Lao-Indian relations which have been further enhanced through frequent exchanges of visits at various levels including at highest level. The two countries are celebrating the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2011. India ranks the seventh largest foreign investor in Laos with investment of more than 352 million US$ towards the development of agriculture, industry and service sector. India has supported Laos in human resource development and other types of technical and financial assistance through soft loans that contribute to the national social and economic development of Laos to a great extent. He hoped for continuation of existing good bilateral relations in the years ahead in the interest of the people of Laos and India

Report by:        Sanjeev Kumar, Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs